As we’ve seen, the USDA has found economic benefits of climate bill for farmers ‘easily trump’ the costs. And that’s no surprise since unrestricted GHG emissions will be catastrophic to U.S. farmers (see Our hellish future: Definitive NOAA-led report on U.S. climate impacts warns of scorching 9 to 11°F warming over most of inland U.S. by 2090 with Kansas above 90°F some 120 days a year “” and that isn’t the worst case, it’s business as usual!). In this Wonk Room post, however, Brad Johnson explains that many leading Senators from farm states still don’t get it.
U.S. Senators are attacking the Waxman-Markey American Clean Energy and Security Act as threatening farmers even though America is suffering from the ravages of a climate out of control “” heat waves, floods, storms, droughts, and seasonal shifts. Scientific studies show global warming has already hurt American agriculture, and that the damages will grow catastrophic if action is not taken. In a new video, the Center for American Progress Action Fund argues that passage of a strong climate bill is imperative, and senators should stop filibustering our farmers’ future. Watch it:
The rising tide of climate change “” the catastrophic droughts in Texas and California, the heat waves in Louisiana and Nebraska, the storms across the High Plains and the Midwest, the floods in North Dakota and Minnesota “” require action. Yet many senators are arguing that a limit on carbon pollution would be too costly for farmers:
Saxby Chambliss (R-GA): “No farmers will escape the effect of this bill.” [Senate agriculture hearing, 7/22/09]
Jim Inhofe (R-OK): “I had the opportunity of going and talking to the national farm co-ops the other day and addressed to them if we were to pass the cap-and-trade system what that would do to my folks in Oklahoma and all of America . . . It would be disastrous for our farmers in America.” [Senate floor, 7/15/09]
Mike Johanns (R-NE): “The Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill would have a significant if not severe impact on agriculture. . . . Different studies come up with varied numbers but they all paint the same picture: agriculture loses.” [Senate floor, 7/20/09]
Ben Nelson (D-NE): “I’m concerned that if this is going to be the approach that is taken, that it be the most benign approach to balancing the economy and the environment. It’s not just agriculture, it’s people turning on their lights and businesses as well.” [Senate agriculture hearing, 7/22/09]
John Thune (R-SD): “They’re worried about the EPA regulating greenhouse gases under the Clean Air Act and what that would mean for the future of the production of agriculture.” [Senate agriculture hearing, 7/22/09]
The effort to filibuster clean energy legislation means that a minority of senators can block the effort to preserve the livelihood of farmers in America. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Sen. Arlen Specter (D-PA) have committed to cloture “” standing against the filibuster. The rest of the senators need to join them.